I am simply amazed at how much we are learning about ourselves, the world, and the gospel as we are contemplating and preparing for this whole adoption business.
From the start, my husband and I have been going to the Father and laying it all down before Him. "Show us Your will, Your way, in this matter." We've given Him full reign. And He has been showing us so much!
To put is simply, it's been through the experiences we've had since we opened our hearts to adoption that He's been speaking to us. For one thing, we brought a friend (who is African American) into our home for a couple weeks. She is a single mom who grew up in poverty, and she was homeless for a short time while she got settled into a new job and got into a better shelter than where she was. Hopefully, with her first new paycheck, she'll be able to secure a lease and get back on her feet.
While she was living on our couch with her precious little girl, she and I had some great talks: about race, about culture, about church, poverty, and life. She's a Christian, and we worked with her church to help provide her what she needed. (She goes to a "black church," she calls it.) We talked about adoption, and about a mother's hope for her child, and about the weight of guilt when you realize that you haven't provided the best for your child, despite your intentions.
This started a lot of great conversations between my husband and me, too. What is our understanding of "culture?" Does it fit what the world around us believes? Does it fit with the priorities of the Holy Spirit of God? Does it even fit with how our family lives daily?
Then last night, while the kids were asleep, I was up late working on a deadline (I'm a freelance book editor). And in a show of solidarity that my husband has granted me ever since we were college students studying for finals, he was staying up with me to help me "make it fun." I was doing some mindless formatting work, so my brain was free to listen to music or talk radio or something. I mentioned that we hadn't listened yet to some teaching that we had received in the mail from a Christian teacher that we really like, Sam Soleyn. So we picked one of his newest teachings, and just sat and listened, amazed. It was addressing all the issues that God was bringing up in our hearts!
The teaching is called, "The Culture of the Kingdom," and it talks about the reality of life in the New Testament church, the importance of a new "Kingdom" culture trumping all earthly understandings of culture. In Christ there is no "man" or "woman" and no "east" or "west." Yet men and women do not cease to be themselves when they become one with Christ. In the same way, culture, nationality, and all that comes with these (skin color, historical needs, cultural personalities, etc.) do not cease to be. But they come under the rule of Christ the King in such a way that they cease to divide people.
When my friend was living with us, there was a lot of talk about what was the "black" way to do things or the "white" way to do things. But when we were able to simply talk about God's ways, we were able to cut through some of the crap (and that's what some of these supposedly "cultural" differences are) and just get down to human needs and Christ's provision.
Anyway, Sam teaches it much better than I ever could explain it. But I feel like my husband and I are on the brink of some deep learning about the Spirit of God that is going to influence everything about us...to free us up to love others in such a way that it is less demanding, less exhausting, less stressful, yet more open, more "adoptive."
We have been asking the Lord to reveal anything in our hearts that would harm an adopted child: any racism, any sexism, any sense that our blood is somehow superior to another's. But rather than answer our prayers directly, He is revealing more and more of Himself to us. His ways. His views. His plans for all of humanity.
So does this mean that God is saying, "See, all races are great. So go out there and get the strangest combination of races you can find and pretend that it's all normal." Nope. He hasn't given us any definitive instructions. He's more just wooing our hearts for His ways.
It's not that race, nationality, culture are evil things. We do not just melt into some nirvana mass of souls when we become one with God. Nor do we learn to reject these yucky bodily shells, as the Eastern mystics would pursue. Rather, we are people of worth. We retain our value, our culture, our heritage. But chiefly, we are Christians. Jesus does not say that every tribe and tongue will blur into nothingness. He says that every tribe and tongue will find their place in Him.
Well, that's it on the deep thoughts. On a practical note, we haven't finished filling out our pre-application, yet. The funny thing is that now I have an entire book full of thoughts I could use to answer the "What is your idea of a Christian family" question on the pre-app. But they only give us three lines!
Tonight is date night, again, and we'll hopefully get this thing filled out, at least most of the way. Thanks for your prayers and support!